Home / MLB / Struggling pitchers square off as Orioles host Cardinals (Jun 17, 2017)

Struggling pitchers square off as Orioles host Cardinals (Jun 17, 2017)

BALTIMORE — Two pitchers who desperately need to throw deep into games with effectiveness will start on Saturday afternoon at Camden Yards.

The St. Louis Cardinals will start right-hander Adam Wainwright (7-4, 4.73) against Baltimore left-hander Wade Miley (2-4, 3.97), who has struggled to provide innings for manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles (32-34) have dropped eight of nine after an 11-2 loss Friday to the Cardinals (31-35), who snapped an eight-game losing streak on the road.

Miley has not gone past the third inning in his past two outings against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox.

In those games, Miley has given up 10 runs and 14 hits and has allowed at least four runs in four of his last six starts. Miley is 1-2 with a 4.13 ERA in four career starts against St. Louis.

So what makes Miley effective?

“The sinker sinking (is) number one,” Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph said Friday. “Making quality pitches from the get-go and limiting the walks (and having) more a down slider than horizontal slider. If he is not walking guys … it is a good outing.”

Miley is the only lefty starter for the Orioles but that doesn’t change much for Baltimore catchers.

“The only thing you are really concerned about his blocking his slider or curveball since it spins or bounces the other way,” Joseph said. “We have the splits (on hitters). We have a good idea before he goes out there.”

St. Louis hitters who have opposed Miley have a .328 batting average in 58 at-bats against him.

Those hitters include Matt Carpenter (6-for-11, .545), Dexter Fowler (6-for-19, .316), Randal Grichuk (1-for-3, .333), Jedd Gyorko (5-for-20, .200) and Yadier Molina (1-for-5, .200). Carpenter, Fowler and Gyorko all hit homers Friday.

Wainwright will face Baltimore for the first time and, after Saturday, will have faced every major league team. He has beaten 23 teams in a career that has lasted for 12 years.

Wainwright got his seventh win on Sunday as he allowed two runs in five innings. He threw 50 pitches and allowed two runs in the first two innings of that start before pitching three scoreless innings.

The Baltimore hitters who have prior experience against Wainwright include catcher Welington Castillo (8-for-22, .364), shortstop J.J. Hardy (5-for-26, .192), outfielder Seth Smith (1-for-9, .111), infielder Ruben Tejada (0-for-4, .000) and outfielder/DH Mark Trumbo (1-for-3, .333), who has one homer against the St. Louis veteran.

That adds up to a .234 average in 64 at-bats.

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny will be able to use the designated hitter this weekend in Baltimore. He said he doesn’t have a set plan for DH.

“We keep a real close tab on everyone’s workload,” said Matheny, who used Fowler as the DH on Friday night in Baltimore. “We don’t have it scripted out.”

The veteran St. Louis skipper is not a big fan of interleague play. He notes an unbalanced schedule — due to some teams playing interleague rivals, such as Baltimore against Washington — could mean a one-game difference and decide who makes the playoffs.

“It creates challenges on our schedule,” he said.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter announced Friday that Ubaldo Jimenez will start Sunday, with Alec Asher staying in the bullpen. Jimenez was in the starting rotation early in the year before getting hit hard in a 14-7 loss at home to the Minnesota Twins on May 22.

“He has thrown well in the bullpen,” Showalter said.

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